How to Vote in Louisiana

Concern about low voter turnout and transmitting coronavirus at the polls this November has vaulted states’ vote-by-mail procedures to center stage in the national debate.

Two-thirds of voters say, “the coronavirus outbreak will significantly disrupt Americans’ ability to vote,” this fall,  according to a recent Pew poll. States are drawing up plans for November that vary widely. Nine states will automatically send mail-in-ballots to all registered voters, while  seven states will require citizens to cite a recognized excuse -- beyond pandemic fears — to vote-by-mail. Thirty-four states will take a middle-ground approach which will allow everyone to mail in their ballot, but these states will not go so far as to automatically send out ballots.

Louisiana sits firmly with the most restrictive states. In July,  Louisiana voters could qualify for a mail-in ballot if, among other reasons, they were 65 or older,  in the military, had a serious medical condition, had COVID-19 symptoms, or a doctor advised them to quarantine. According to Louisiana Secretary of State data, 1,863 people voted by mail after citing a medical condition that would have made them susceptible to coronavirus. 

After Judge Shelly Dick of the U.S. District Court decided an important court case in September, Louisianans will be able to receive a mail-in-ballot for the Nov. 3 and Dec. 5 elections, but only if they provide a recognized excuse and fill-out the required paperwork. If you are registered to vote in Louisiana, you should request your mail-in ballot as soon as possible, the earlier the better.

Do I Qualify for Vote-by-Mail?

Having a fear of contracting coronavirus is not enough to qualify you to vote by mail. However, you will qualify if you meet one of the following conditions: 

  1. At higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to serious underlying medical conditions as identified by the
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (including chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma,
    hypertension or other serious heart conditions, diabetes, undergoing chemotherapy, severe obesity (BMI of 40
    or higher), chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis, liver disease, pregnancy, or immunocompromised
    due to cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly
    controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications);
  2. Subject to a medically necessary quarantine or isolation order as a result of COVID-19;
  3. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
  4. Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  5. Caring for an individual who is subject to a medically
    necessary quarantine or isolation order as a result of COVID-19 or who has been advised by a health care
    provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.

If you meet one of these conditions, you must print-out and complete the Absentee Ballot Application and mail, fax or hand deliver the form to your parish registrar.  No person, except the immediate family of any voter, can fax or hand deliver more than one voter's application to vote by mail to the registrar. 

What if I Don't Meet COVID-19 Criteria?

You may not meet the COVID-19 criteria, but you may already qualify to vote by mail for another reason. You already qualify if you meet one of these criteria:

  • Registered voter over 65
  • Military personnel
  • Overseas voter
  • You’re in the hospital
  • You’re enrolled in a college located outside the parish where you are registered to vote
  • You will not be in your parish during the election  

If you qualify, log on to the Louisiana Voter Portal and follow these steps to request a mail-in ballot:

  • Click the "Search By Voter" button.
  • Type in your First Name, Last Name and Zip Code or Birth Month and Year and then click the "Submit" button;
  • Click the "Request Absentee Ballot" link found under the Quick Links heading; and
  • Complete requested information and submit.

Other Ways to Vote

If you do not qualify to vote by mail, you can still vote on Election Day or in the early voting periods-- Oct. 16-27 (excluding Sunday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 25) from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Check your Louisiana voter registration and start making a game plan for November 3rd. 

If you are registered, can you answer the following questions: 

  • Will I vote early?
  • Where is my polling place?
  • Do I know who is running?

Register to Vote

If you aren’t registered, follow WAFB’s guide to register. The deadline to return your Louisiana Voter Registration Application to your parish registrar is Oct. 5. You have until Oct. 13 if you register online through Geaux Vote.

//Page Written By Trey Poché